GW-296 -- The Hottest Gizmos and Gadgets from Japan

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Japan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H

READ GADGETWATCH ONLINE AT:
www.japaninc.com
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
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Issue No. 296 Friday April 25, 2008
Subscribers: 9467
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Pioneer SE-DRS3000C headset offers wireless theater sound

Name: Pioneer SE-DRS3000C
Category: wireless headphones
Price: Open price (about JPY40,000)
Release date in Japan: Mid-May, 2008

Pioneer's SE-DRS3000C system combines a 2.4GHz wireless
transmitter (TRE-D3000) with receiver headphones (SE-DHP3000)
for untethered listening within a 30m range. Its '3x3
transmission system' sends data three times, while automatically
choosing the best of three frequencies, to ensure against data
loss from surrounding radiowave interference. To keep the sound
as clean as the source, the transmitter applies no compression
to the data. Supported bandwidth is 10Hz to 24kHz.

The unit's headphones incorporate large 50mm drivers and Dolby
Headphone technology, with buckskin pads to cradle the ears. A
48-bit processing DSP recreates clear sound from formats
including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Sound EX, Dolby ProLogic
II, DTS, MPEG-2, AAC, and PCM.

The 'phones run on a lithium-ion battery; drop them onto the
transmitter unit to recharge. The transmitter (not the
headphones, as reported on many English-language gadget blogs)
weights 720g; the 'phones are 350g (20% lighter than Pioneer's
previous wireless models).

Wireless headphones are of interest to anyone who wants to roam
a bit while listening to high-quality sound. But Pioneer notes
that AV fans with home theater setups are the category's key
market, and promises a true movie theater-quality listening
experience for buyers of the kit. Unless you always watch movies
alone, however, you may need extra headphone units; Pioneer is
glad to oblige for JPY26,250 per set.

More info: http://pioneer.jp/press/2008/0415-1.html (Japanese)

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Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc

Compensation and Benefits Forum, 27th – 28th May, Tokyo
http://www.marcusevans.com/html/eventdetail.asp?eventID=13778
This event provides Japanese firms the 'how-to' of investing in
their employees to sustain their businesses. Supported by JSHRM

3rd Annual LNG World, 15th – 16th July 2008, Tokyo
www.marcusevans.com/html/eventdetail.asp?eventID=13569
This event focuses on key operational aspects of LNG business
and current market dynamics to succeed in this competitive
market.

Leveraged Finance Japan, 29th – 30th July 2008, Tokyo
http://www.marcusevans.com/html/eventdetail.asp?eventID=14126
This event provides the opportunity for participants to assess
the buyout & leveraged buyout activities in Japan.

'J@pan Inc readers are entitled to a 10% discount upon
registration with Ms. Esther Wong.'
Contact: +603 2723 6736 Email: estherw@marcusevanskl.com
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Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA8 takes a dive

Name: Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA8
Category: digital still and video camera
Price: Open price (about JPY50,000)
Release date in Japan: Late May, 2008

Upon releasing its Xacti DMX-CG9 video camera (Gadget Watch 293)
on April 18, Sanyo announced the next iteration to arrive in
late May: the DMX-CA8. Like the DMX-CA65 that debuted in mid
2007, the new CA8's claim to fame is water resistance for
shooting in rain, snow, or even underwater (up to 1m - fine for
splashing or shallow snorkeling, not deep dives). A porous film
covering the microphone and speakers allows air but not water to
pass through, while digital sound processing reduces watery
noises under the waves. (Even if you don't plan to shoot in
surf, water resistance is great for any gear by allowing serious
cleaning when things get grimy.)

Movies are saved in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format, at up to 60 frames
per second in VGA (640x480) mode. Still photo size is as high as
3456x2592, or a digitally-processed 4000x3000. Still photos shot
during movie recording max out at 1600x1200.

Other specs are in the ballpark of previous Xacti models:
ergonomic 'pistol-grip' body with 2.5-inch LCD screen, 44MB of
internal memory plus SD/SDHC memory card slot, 5x optical zoom
(with another 12x digital zoom), flash, shake reduction, face
recognition (up to 12 faces during still shooting, 6 during
video), 1-cm close-up shooting, and USB 2.0 connection.
Operation menus are Japanese only. Weight is 258g; colors are
white, blue, or black.

Additional info remains sparse on the product site. Unlike the
product text introducing the DMX-CG9, so far there's no
marketing claim of 'Easy even for women', but give Sanyo time.

More info:
http://www.sanyo-dsc.com/products/lineup/dmx_ca8/index.html
(Japanese)

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Behind the luxury Cosmic Shiner exclusive mobile

Name: SoftBank Cosmic Shiner exclusive
Category: mobile phone
Price: JPY399000
Release date in Japan: March 2008

Remember the bubble days, when sushi came with gold flake and a
Van Gogh went for five billion yen? These days the world is all
about 100-yen shops and $2500 Indian cars and $100 laptops. But
you can relive Japan's good-time bubble feel with the JPY399,000
(about $4000) 'Cosmic Shiner exclusive' mobile phone.

A joint production of solutions provider Mobile Factory and haut
monde consultants/coordinators Venus International, the opulent
keitai is based on Toshiba's 3G-only 'funfan 815T' and is sold
by SoftBank Mobile. That model, with its customizable menu
screen and inner/outer panels, bills itself as offering 240
million configuration combinations. That's made the 815T a
natural base for many TV character and celebrity 'collaboration
models' - and now, a mobile for the gentry.

The team behind the Cosmic Shiner state that it's clearly
targeted at Japan's 14.7 million-member 'wealthy class', defined
by net personal assets of JPY100,000,000 (essentially
millionaires in US dollar terms). 'If we set a clear target
[market], and meet its needs with added value and services, we
could create a mobile phone for the wealthy class', says Mobile
Factory President Akito Goto.

'Naturally, everything had to be first-class', adds Venus
International CEO Akane Enokido. First came three swappable
exterior panels by famed fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto,
including one panel (dubbed Luxe) encrusted with 14 diamonds.
Then there's the beautiful hand-crafted lacquerwork 'tebunko'
box to store it all. On the service side, purchasers get a
year's enrollment in Benefit One's 'Prestige Gold' concierge
service, offering 'lifestyle support' that ranges from discounts
at top hotels and restaurants, to coordination services for
cruises and private jet flights. 'With the diamond panel and the
tebunko box, the 399,000 price is quite inexpensive', CEO
Enokimoto assures.

Bargain or not, there may be shoppers of modest means who'll
consider scraping up the capital and have some fun pretending to
be one of the Ferrari-driving glitterati for a while.
Unfortunately for them, the 'exclusive' at the end of the
product name isn't just more decoration. To discourage the
riffraff, would-be buyers need to first acquire a special ID
from upscale, limited-availability magazines like SEVEN HILLS or
SEVEN SEAS, neither of which you'll find at the local konbini.
Alternately, you can reqest an ID online, but there's a vetting
process to keep IDs away from paupers. Yet another means of
snaring an ID is via introduction from a purchaser, who
presumably won't bestow such largesse upon the proletariat. But
even those channels may leave you on the outside looking in:
Mobile Factory is chasing after its desired buyers by
proactively mailing out invitations with pre-approved IDs, and
there are only 1000 Cosmic Shiners available. 'We want it to be
a status symbol keitai for purchasers', adds Ms Enokimoto.

The immediately apparent flaw in it all, of course, is that
people toss out old cellies on a whim as makers churn out new
models. But the Cosmic Shiner team has you covered on that
front: in addition to repair services, purchasers can have the
diamond panel recycled into cufflinks or other accessories when
moving on to another phone.

So if you want to join the keitai (and future cufflink)
aristocracy, good luck. One warning beforehand: there's no
upper-crust mobile service plan to go with the phone. Once
you're through the gilt door, you'll have to slum it with the
herd via a rank-and-file Softbank White Plan.

If it's all sounding shallow, rest assured that there's a
potential positive side as well. Ms Enokimoto notes that she
wants to see Japan reach the levels of personal contribution to
charity that she saw while growing up overseas. Down the road,
Cosmic Shiner exclusive owners will be invited to parties aimed
at raising money for good causes, though specifics aren't
available yet.

Official site: http://exclusive.coraboruta.co.jp/ (Japanese)

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Short items

Spotted elsewhere in the news:

1) From April 18, Iiyama will fix you up with a new 15-inch XGA
(1024x768) LCD ProLite E383S-5/-5B monitor for only JPY24800.
Contrast ratio 600:1, luminance 250cd/m2, built-in 1.5W stereo
speakers, 3 kg.
http://www.iiyama.co.jp/products/lcd/15/PLE383S-5/

2) JVC is mulling withdrawal from the Japanese television
market, citing low market share and falling prices for
flat-screen TVs. According to BCN (Business Computer News)
retail sales data for March 2008, JVC's share of LCD and plasma
TVs was a mere 2.0%, compared with 11.6% for Matsushita, 12.6%
for Toshiba, 21.4% for Sony, and 41.2% for Sharp. JVC is
expected to announce a decision on April 25.
http://www.computernews.com/DailyNews/2008/04/
20080416144093B9897A2020.htm

3) METI reports several instances of IO DATA LANDISK HDL-160U
external drives emitting smoke. If you have one, discontinue use
and stay tuned for recall or other information from IO DATA.

--------NEW GADGET BLOG: TEKRONOMICON.COM-----------------------
In collaboration with Gadget Watch, Gadget blog Tekronomicon
offers a detailed look at select gadgets - shiny and strange,
from gizmo ground zero in Tokyo. See the gadgets introduced
in Gadget Watch and more, with photos, at www.tekronomicon.com
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Start a Company in Japan

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 31st of May, 2008

If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful.
Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 13 start-up companies in Japan,
will be giving an English-language seminar and Q and A on
starting up a company in Japan.
This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally answered
in business books.
All materials are in English and are Japan-focused.

For more details:
http://www.japaninc.com/entrepreneur_handbook_seminar

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STAFF
Written by: Timm Tuttle
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